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Italy Has a “Man of Mediation” Running the Country

by Richard Birke
June 2013

JAMS ADR Blog by Chris Poole

Richard Birke

Italy boasts some of the finest wine, clothes, art, food and cars in the world. It is an amazing country with attributes that have made it a top-notch tourist destination.

But recent events have made the mediation scene more of a mixed bag. There was great potential around the Italian law that required mediation in most civil lawsuits, naturally great disappointment when the nation’s courts held the law exceeded the legislature’s authority. The state of Italian ADR is in a bit of flux.

Interestingly enough, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both ran headlines calling the new Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, a “Man of Mediation.” The WSJ noted that “Mr. Letta’s reputation as someone who can reconcile left and right helped the 46-year-old get the president’s nod to try to form a government in the wake of February’s inconclusive general election.” A high ranking minister (who wished to keep his name out of the story) described Letta as “a man of mediation. He touches on all the problems, but rarely takes a position on them….Given all of Italy’s challenges, a broker may be more successful than a hard nosed politician.”

We hope that Mr. Letta’s skills prove to be up to whatever challenges lay in his path. Perhaps once he’s settled in, he’ll get Italy’s mediation law back on track and we’ll be able to rank Italian ADR in the same echelon as that of their gelato and pasta!

Biography


Richard Birke is a JAMS consultant and has taught dispute resolution for more than 20 years. He is a law school professor and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Willamette. Under his leadership, CDR has enjoyed more than a decade of high national rankings in the US and is the 2012 winner of the Ninth Circuit ADR Education Award. Mr. Birke is a two-time award-winning author, as well as an ADR neutral, consultant and trainer. 



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Website: www.willamette.edu/wucl/faculty/profiles/birke/index.html

Additional articles by Richard Birke

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